Plan for plunge pool at headmaster’s residence at King’s fuels tension

The old boys have been invited to discuss the “school’s strategic plans and gain international perspectives as we journey towards the school’s bicentenary in 2031”, the invitation said.

Former public education chiefs said the latest revelations showed the need for greater transparency.

“The last school in Australia to need $ 20 million a year in taxpayer funding is The King’s School,” said Ken Boston, who led the NSW Department of Education through the 1990s and was on the Gillard government’s Gonski funding review panel.

“How much more would that add to the growth of our national stock of human capital? And there is absolutely no accountability for this waste, ”he said.

Lyndsay Connors, who has held positions in education at the state and national level, said “taxpayers had been made shareholders in these private schools. We have a right to full and transparent information on all aspects of their financial status, and that should include principals’ salaries ”.

Former deputy director-general of education in NSW Jim McMorrow said schools receiving public money should be “transparent about all their expenditure, including full salary packages of principals”.

One member of the King’s school community, who spoke anonymously, said there was “frustration and disappointment” among parents and staff about how the school’s money was being spent.

“The parents are genuinely committed to the school and there are significant and immediate issues about where the spending is going,” he said.

One parent said the rowers held sausage sizzles, raffles and auctions to raise money for their regatta trip. “There are people with lots of money at the school,” he said. “But there are lots of people who work bloody hard to pay the fees. The parents are [divided] on the largesse. ”

That parent did not have an issue with the pool. “It’s an asset for the school long-term. He lives on premises. He’s a bit like the prime minister, he’s working all the time, he holds functions at the house. ”

Some parents noted the Henley trip came as the school celebrated its first Gratitude Day, which is part of a new philanthropic program to raise money from the community for bursaries or buildings.

Others pointed to a letter sent late last year, which explained the decision to increase tuition by 4.5 per cent and boarding by 6 per cent compared with 2020 rates, after fee rises were paused in 2021 due to the hardship faced by some families.

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In the final years of school, King’s costs more than $ 40,000 a year. However, capacity to contribute scores – which measure parents’ financial status, based on tax office data – show its families are not as well off as those at other high-fee schools.

King’s score is 117, which is similar to William Clarke College in Kellyville, which charges up to $ 13,800 for year 12, and Waverley College, which charges up to $ 17,400. The other Sydney member of the HMC, The Scots College, has a score of 147.

The school said it had received 47 letters from parents, which were all supportive.

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